Hearst: Layoff notice will be next week

Publisher George Hearst said today he will produce the names of people he wants to lay off next week, and some of them will be out of seniority.

Guild President Tim O’Brien replied that the union will file a legal challenge to any attempt to impose any of the Company’s proposals. The union does not believe we are at a legal impasse, especially given the broad discretion the Company demands under its outsourcing and layoff language.

The parties will meet, discuss the criteria the Company intends to use for deciding who gets laid off and then Hearst said he will provide the names. That will start the 45-day clock under the Company’s language to negotiate any layoffs.

O’Brien noted that while the union will meet with the Company, it is not waiving any of its rights to legally challenge whatever the Times Union attempts to do.

The publisher did not say how many employees would be forced out of a job, though he says it should be in line with the estimate he gave earlier. He had 60 to 70 employees could be let go, but that was before some 16 people took voluntary buyouts.

O’Brien will fly down to Washington, D.C. Thursday for the Guild’s annual sector conference, where he will meet with the International’s leaders and the union attorney to prepare the case to challenge the company’s declaration of impasse. The sector conference runs through Saturday. O’Brien will skip the CWA portion of the convention in order to be back in Albany on Monday to prepare for the layoff discussions.


  • Employee

    It’s time, Mr. Hearst, for you to finally be honest. It looks like the proof is in that the $500 “signing bonus” was a bribe. And when we didn’t take the bait, you yanked it away to punish us in a petty and spiteful way. This Charles Foster Kane-lite is so desperate to show he can play hardball, but his only legacy is going to be as the guy who was in charge when it all hit the fan.

  • Worker Bee

    I believe you are right, Employee. When I attended Mr. Hearst’s “informational meeting,” he side-stepped all of our questions and spoke a lot of indecipherable business mumbo jumbo. We didn’t buy it then, and we don’t buy it now. The Guild members made the right vote. It’s Mr. Hearst who is not acting in good faith.

  • Editorial

    Hearst has given every indication all along that it will do whatever it wants to and let its decisions play out in court. I’m half expecting the people targeted for layoffs to be called Wednesday morning and told not to bother coming in for work. Then George will give Tim his list of names.

    I don’t know George personally, and many people have said what a nice guy he is, but all of this feels a bit harder coming from someone who likely has never known (and never will) what it’s like to struggle to with the burden of student loan debt, or not go to the doctor because he lacks health care or a sky-high deductible he can’t pay, or lie awake at night wondering if he should cash out his 401(K) and forget retirement if he gets laid off so he can keep paying rent or a mortgage while he looks for work.

    Someone commented recently that this is hard for people with families because they have roots here. Tim did speak up for single workers, but I’d like to note that single people who get laid off won’t have the extra cushion of a spouse’s income or health insurance to help them through unemployment in a bad economy. Plenty of single workers have created their own families (friends and significant others) and planted roots here. I don’t want people with spouses and children to lose their jobs, but I love my job, too, and would prefer not to lose the security it’s given me to take care of myself.

    It’s going to be a hard next few days. I’m hoping for the best for the many good people I work with and for myself. And I’m hoping not to run into George in the parking lot because it’s hard not to say what I feel.

  • spouse of guild member

    As far as I’m concerned, this man has put a gun to my family’s head…and he aims to pull the trigger. My spouse has worked for the paper for 10 years. We will have no income if he’s laid off (I’m fairly certain my B.A. in Journalism isn’t going to help us much).
    I know it states we’re suppose to be “nice” on this forum but, this man should rot in hell for what he’s put you and your families through! What will everyone do? And, as another poster stated, why should he care? He has no idea what it means to worry about money, job security and the financial welfare of a family. He will never know what it’s like to look his kid in the eyes and tell him he may have to leave his home…or explain to them that busting your ass in this world no longer gets you anything. He should be thankful. It is because of his employees and all their hard work that he won’t ever have to experience such hardships. It is people like this – the ones with an insatiable hunger for greed – that have ruined our economy and country…and cut the throats of hard-working people everywhere. They will never understand their impact – nor will they ever care – unless it comes full circle some day and effects their $bottom line.
    Married with kids or single, each and every employee there deserves better!

  • family guy

    After almost a year since george announced layoffs, he continues to withold information about them, because “nothing is finalized”. Then immediatly after the vote, he is prepared to give the NAMES of the people he most likely had already (collecting dust on his desk). I have to say I really miss having Fairness, kindness, dignity, and respect.

  • On Edge

    So that’s it? Nothing til Wednesday? Well, try to have a good weekend everybody. Me, I’ll be reworking my household budgets and looking around my house for things to sell. But I’ll have a lot of time to do all that because I probably won’t sleep. George Hearst? I’m sure he’ll sleep like a baby. A spoiled, pampered, never wants for anything baby.

  • Worn Down

    I agree with everything I’ve read above about George Hearst. I don’t have an ounce of respect for him. It’s pretty clear he has no respect for the people who’ve toiled for this newspaper over the years, often working when they were sick and sometimes putting work before their families. But there’s one more thing that’s pretty clear to me: Mr. Hearst is a terrible salesman if he thinks putting $500 in your pocket with one hand while he yanks several thousand out of another pocket with the other is a good sales pitch.

  • Playing with Pain

    Is the union going to tell those on the list that they are getting fired, or will we get the call from an editor? What will happen with that list?
    Do we work for 45 days after getting fired?

  • Heartsick

    I graduated from high school on a Saturday and began working at the paper the following Monday. Forty-two years later I took the buyout. All of those years I was proud to tell people where I worked…until now.

  • Drudge

    I have talked to several people in management who are soooo on our side. I’m still not sure if exempt people will have cutbacks too. but I thought I’d let you know that they aren’t all against us.

  • Hearstistheworst

    I hope all those people who aren’t sleeping over this, or all the people who will have a lot of free time on their hands, will be willing to take some action. That means writing letters to the institutions on whose boards he sits, picketing, and otherwise working hard to let the community know just what quality of person George Hearst is. Let’s make the Hearst name anathema to the Capital Region.

  • DazedandAmazed

    Why is there a Display ad on the employment page looking for Sales Reps if layoffs in that department are scheduled. Hearst paying minimum wage to the new hires?

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